1990 Chevy Lumina

Hello all...
There has been a 1990 Chevy Lumina sitting around in my part of the world for some time. It has a 3.1L V6 engine. It's not a Euro model or anything
special like that. I asked the owner about it today, and it is for sale. $150 would buy it, and it does run. But...the intake gasket is bad, and the engine is losing some coolant. (Not sure about how much.) The owner was quoted $650-700 to fix that problem.
The body is good with no sign of rust. The paint is fair...it's primarily been lightened by years of sitting in the sun. The interior is good and I'm told that everything else works fine. It has a new battery and good tires.
I haven't driven the car yet (but I intend to do that, followed by a close inspection of about everything) to see how well it runs, how much coolant it is using, or anything like that.
I'm not an in-depth expert in working on cars, but I'm not afraid to dive in and learn either. I've changed starters, water pumps, alternators, and straightened out the carburetor on a Plymouth Reliant with the 2.6L Mitsubishi engine. My question is--is the intake gasket something I could do myself if I decide to buy this car?
I don't mind getting my hands dirty, and I can certainly read and follow directions if there are any to accomplish this.
William
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wrote in message

You won't be able to inspect it and tell how much coolant it's using. One key piece of information you don't mention is the mileage on the car. As well - how long has it been using coolant? This is a common problem with this series of engine and it happens to all of them. If the problem has persisted long enough, bearing damage is very likely. Though it may not be making noise now, if the car's been driven a lot with bad gaskets you could find yourself putting a new set in and then discovering lower end knock a short time later.

You can certainly do the job yourself - many have. There is a lot of documention all over the web, with good instructions for a capable person with a small selection of tools to follow. It's not a real bad job, but one should plan on 8 hours or so for a first time venture.

Make sure you get the most current design gaskets. Most GM dealers should now be stocking those. Get new bolts while you're at it. These stretch and should be replaced. Again - your GM dealer will help you there. The gasket set should be around $60-75 from the dealer, for both the upper and the lower. Can't remember how much the bolt set is.
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Hi!

Oh, I forgot. It's got about 170,000 miles on it, if my memory serves.

That I do not know. The car hasn't been driven in a while, but I saw it in town a lot when it was being driven. The owner passed by my house almost every day with it, and it sounded the same each day it went by over the years. I am inclined to think that the owner stopped driving it very soon after this problem surfaced, as he has another one of the same car that I started seeing more and more of. Within three weeks I didn't see this car being driven any more.

How long might be "long enough"? Would pulling the dip stick and seeing if the smell of coolant is noticeable tell anything?

one
Okay, thanks for the info.

I certainly will. Thank you for the reply. I reckon the next step is to inspect the engine, listen to it run and finally drive it a little bit. I might also have some local mechanics look at it and offer their opinions.
William
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wrote in message

These are easily 200,000 mile engines if properly maintained. Key to this though is the issue of the intake gaskets. Leakage will adversely affect the crankshaft and rod bearings, so if this engine has never had the gaskets replaced, you're probably closer to the end of this engine's life than further. These gaskets typically go bad at anywhere from 40,000 - 80,000 miles.

You would likely not notice anything in a car passing by that would indicate it was leaking coolant through the gaskets.

Nope. Most times there is no indication on the dipstick.

The car is cheap enough, so you're not really throwing a lot of money away, but at that mileage and known gasket problems, I'd probably walk on by.
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Hi!

Just 200,000? Or will they do more?
I've got a 1989 Buick with a 3.8 that's creeping closer to 300,000. Different engine, but how much so?

Okay. I figured that if the engine were working on damaging itself that I might have heard something that sounded even so slightly wrong. I have very good hearing. A knock would be a good clue, but by that time it is probably too late.

I think that what I'll do is offer $100 and leave the owner to think about it. Something tells me that if it sits long enough, they'll come down. Even if it ends up being junk, I'd come away with some more knowledge...and I'm always looking to learn something new.
...and I probably could get my hundred back by selling off some parts...
William
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No such thing for a 1990 model year 3.1

First off, the MS98003T fits the 3.4 liter pushrod engine not the 3.1, second, none of the problem solver MS9800X series of Fel-Pro gaskets fits anything as old as a 1990 model year

He should let the parts man do his job lest he get gaskets that there is no hope in hell will fit.

And they'll work fine since there is nothing special about this application.

If they're rotted halfway thru, otherwise they're not needed.

No change in torque spec for the 1990 3.1

Given that you're recommending parts that are totally inappropriate for the engine in question, one wonders what you've seen.

Not in the 1990 model year. Yes, there were gasket failures but no more frequent that any year for that engine series dating back to 1980 when it was introduced.

Very true from 1995 and newer. Certainly doesn't apply to a 1990 model year.
Also; please fix your Outhouse Express so it doesn't put the ">" symbol at the beginning of each line in your original posts.
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